How to Read Nutrition Labels

Oh man, it’s been almost a month since my last post.  Life kind of happened haha.  I’ve had to cope with the sudden unexpected passing of one of my dogs, Handsome.  I’ve also been dealing with 2 new puppies,  school,  tons of demos with LetlerFit apparel, and the release of my new online workout program Get LetlerFit in 30 days! Link to view/purchase my program click here. (Can be downloaded internationally)

Anyways, today’s post is dedicated to reading nutrition labels (the basics).  By law every food item we purchase at a convenient store, supermarket etc. that comes packaged must contain Nutrition Facts that include ingredients, macronutrient and micronutrient break downs, serving size, and calories per serving.

If you start at the top of the label  you will see Serving size and Servings per container.  The macronutrient breakdown of each serving size follows below.  Now, how do they get the calories to declare up top where it says calories per serving?  In my previous post about macronutrients I mentioned that Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, protein contains 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.  If you look at the attached Nutrition Label that also has explanations on how to read it you will see that this particular item has

12 g of fat, 31g of carbs, and 5g of protein.  So per serving 12g of fat times 9 gives 108 calories from fat, 31g of carbs times 4 gives 125 calories from carbs, and 5g of protein times 4 gives 20 calories from protein per serving.  In total that is 253 (rounds down to 250) calories per 1 cup of this food item.

Underneath the macronutrients, the micronutrients are listed.  Next to both macro and micronutrients you can find the % Daily value column.  The downfall to this column  is that the daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet (average male diet) so women have to estimate based off of the listed daily values.  So for example, if you are eating this food item and consume roughly 2,000 calories a day you are getting 20% of your Calcium needs, which means in your other foods you need to consume the other 80% of your Calcium needs.

In the attached photo ingredients are not listed, but on all labels you can find them. So looking at a label you see from very few ingredients to labels that contain tons of weird ingredients.  The less ingredients, generally the better the food item is for you.  The more ingredients on a label, the more fillers, useless junk, chemicals, and preservatives are what can be found.  The order in which the ingredients are listed are NOT random by the way. The ingredients that comes first on the list are the ones that are most found in the food item while the ingredients towards the end of the list are the ones that the item least contains.

ingredients

In the above example, the item most contains enriched flour and has the least of the food dyes.

That just about sums about nutrition labels.  Any questions? Don’t be afraid to comment! Don’t forget to check out my online at home 30 day workout program! Click here (Can be downloaded internationally)

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Macronutrients vs Micronutrients part 1

Macronutrients vs Micronutrients.  What are they? We all hear about them, but do we really know what they are?  Today’s post is on the subject of macronutrients.

Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, Protein has 4 calories per gram, and Fats have 9 calories per gram.  Ever wonder how they figure out how many calories should be listed in the nutrition label? This is how!  So for example, if something has 15g of carbs it carries over to 70 calories.  Easy peezy.  🙂

Macros are incredibly simple to understand.  They are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  Let me start with carbohydrates.  So many misconceptions about whether they are good for you.  I LOVE carbs! They’re my best friend when I lack energy before a workout and for repairing my muscles after a workout.  I do of course, consume the good carbs.   The USDA recommends that 45-65% (depends on activity level) of total caloric intake to come from carbohydrates.  Carbs are converted into the body’s primary fuel source and they help certain amino acids synthesize (hint hint to all of my athletes).  When the body has carbohydrates to pull from it can use the other macros (fats and proteins) for their intended jobs (we will get to them in a bit).  They also aid in metabolizing fats, in other words, eat fats and carbs together (healthy ones of course).  Fiber is another type of carbohydrate and even though your body cannot digest fiber it is essential in overall digestive health.

The next kind of macronutrients are proteins.  The USDA recommends that 10-35% of your total intake should come from protein.  The average America however, consumes WAY TOO much protein.  Our cells are mainly composed of proteins that actually define our behavior and physical appearance.  How cool is that?  Proteins are also used for basic bodily maintenance like growth and tissue repair.  When carbs are not readily available to your body, your body takes its energy from protein.  Your digestive and immune system enzymes are made up of proteins.  Your body also uses protein for hormone regulation.

The third kind of macronutrients are fats.  20-35% of your daily intake according to the USDA should come from fats.  Fat is essential for your bodies growth and development and has the highest concentration of energy.  Fats are used to absorb vitamins A, D, E, K and Carotenoids for example and also serve as cushions to your organs.  Fats are also used to maintain the cell membrane.

In quick summary, depriving your body of any macronutrients is definitely something I do not recommend because as can be seen from the aforementioned, each macro plays an integral role in your body.  On Wednesday I will be posting about micronutrients.  Lastly, I apologize in advance for any typos.  Everything I have gone over in this post has come from class notes or my head (yes I pay attention in class)

Any further questions? Please do not hesitate to ask!

Haven’t gotten a chance to visit my website? not a problem! www.LetlerFit.com